I love springtime in Colorado! The perennials in our flower beds are popping up, the trees in our yard are flowering and my allergies are truly a gift to behold. However, my love of spring is nothing compared to the how the flower fairies are feeling.
Come on – ADMIT IT – you’ve seen at least one flower fairy in your lifetime! In fact, I have it on good authority from a friendly garden gnome that the wise people have assigned one flower fairy to beautify every yard, patio and balcony located in an HOA in Colorado.
If you stand in your yard or on your balcony or patio and watch carefully, you will see these busy little fairies flitting about with watering cans, pruning sheers, mulch, manure and yes – 5 gallon containers of flowers and fountain grasses they will soon begin planting. How do these little creatures, who are the size of a dragonfly, zip around with 5 gallon containers? It’s magic of course!
But wait, can these exuberant little helpers get me in trouble with my HOA? Can I get fined by my HOA for planting trees, shrubs, flowers, grasses, or building a deck, gazebo or giant tree house without first obtaining architectural approval? Can my HOA make me remove what my little fairy has worked so hard to plant? The answer to all of these things may be YES.
If you live in an HOA and plan to make improvements to your landscape, home, lot or limited common elements, here are things you need to know before you (or your flower fairy) get started:
● Check the governing documents of your association to determine whether there are any architectural restrictions or guidelines addressing your plans. The first place to start your research is the declaration of covenants, conditions and restrictions. This document will contain relevant use restrictions and will typically outline the architectural review process you must comply with. Also, check to see if there are any relevant architectural guidelines or rules & regulations.
● Follow the required architectural review procedures before making improvements. Failure to comply with the required procedures can lead to some pretty significant consequences – including the requirement that you remove or change the improvement you made. You don’t want to be required to remove a gazebo or change the paint color on your home simply because you didn’t follow the proper procedures to first obtain approval to proceed.
● Upon receiving approval from your association to move forward with making improvements, read the written approval carefully and follow all of the requirements. The approval you receive may have conditions you must comply with and failure to follow the directives could have significant consequences.
● If you aren’t sure what to do, ask the manager of your association for guidance or check with a member of the board if your HOA is self-managed.
If you keep your flower fairy in check and obtain any required approval prior to making improvements to your landscape, home, lot or limited common elements – this spring will be a festive time of year unblemished by the stress of dealing with covenant violations.